As more and more green products develop, it becomes harder to compare them and choose between them. What does it even mean when a product is “green”? And what qualities should you look for when selecting products for your home? The following are some green product criteria that we felt would help clarify what really makes a product green. Green products can excel in a single or multiple criteria – in this way, defining green products depends on the circumstance of how the product is being used and what it is potentially replacing. We’re going to categorize these green characteristics based on what a product is made of and what the product does when in use.

Products are green if they are made from materials that are recycled or salvaged. Other green product materials include agricultural waste, or rapidly renewable/certified resources. If a product requires less material for its production than similar products and/or reduces pollutants when manufactured it can also be considered green. The minimizing of transportation is also an important factor to be taken into account for a product to truly be green. This includes the transportation of materials for production of the product and the transportation of the final product for use.

Criteria for green products while in use include the high durability of the product, which means there is less need for it to be replaced. A product can also be considered green if it requires less maintenance as compared to similar products. Reducing or eliminate emissions while in use (toxic or otherwise) is another way a product can be distinguished as green. Green products are also ones that reduce energy and water consumption while still performing excellently. Overall a product is green when it supports and contributes to a healthy home environment.

Remember that even if a product is green, it also needs to be used in a green way that compliments and cooperates with the design and site of your home. This allows it to reach its maximum potential.  Careful thought and ingenuity are just as important in green home design as green products!

For and even more in depth look at defining green products, read through this article from the Environmental Building News.